Thursday, 30 December 2010


Happy New Year. Years ago the head of the house would gather the family around a bowl of spiced ale called 'lamb's wool', from which he drank their healths. It was passed around with everyone saying 'wasshael' meaning to your health. Poorer people carried a bowl covered in ribbons around the streets begging for it to be filled so they could also Wassail.
Here we go a Wassailing,
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering,
So fair to be seen.
Love and Joy come to you,
And to your wassel to,
And may God send you a Happy New Year, Happy New Year,
Our Wassel cup is made of Rosemary tree
So is your beer of the next barley.
There will be a Wassail celebration at Hailes Fruit Farm, Winchcombe in early January. I think that The Marking the year website will have the details soon.

wood graining

I love wood graining! Not only are there many beautiful woods but you use many different materials and techniques to mimic the individual grains. Just before Xmas John Pocket ran and he mentioned that Ratcliffes were no longer producing graining scumbles. I expect there will be some panic buying. The standard oak and mahogany scumbles are very useful, especially for the graining on old boats and in old pubs. The scumbles are tins of ready mixed colour that only need to be thinned before using. I haven't used any ready mixed colours for a long time preferring to mix my own. I also work using water based paints. If you are trying to copy very truthfully then I feel that you need to make your own colours, but for more folk based projects the Ratcliffe scumbles are I will be trying to get a few cans before they all go. An end to an era .Most people wouldn't think that wood can be imitated and it's not one of the more popular techniques. It takes a while to learn and can easily look like treacle, but I'm sure it has a future. Ecologically it has to be better to copy rare and expensive woods rather than having to cut down rainforest's and the like.
One use of graining that is getting popular is the painting of old black beams. Instead of having a messy clean and sand they can be painted. The benefit of graining also means that if the beam is very flat it can be given an interesting grain. I painted two rooms in a local manor house and even though I say it myself it really brightened the place and looked the business.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Barrel Organ Photos

Happy Christmas.

At last some pictures, The red organ was how it used to look. It was well sanded before it reached me. John who owns the organ painted the unders. I was going to paint them but the snow got in the way of delivery. Barrel Organs were very popular but not always with the public. One British Journalist of the day wrote that an itinerant organ grinder was paid " for his silence and not his sounds ". You can hear this organ play by tapping onto the following link. This Organ is the only known survivor made by The Pesaresi Company and will be included in a new book about Barrel Organs written by David Dakin, due to be published in the New Year.
I am now getting extremely close to having It will make it much easier for me to update information. Well, Happy New Year, All the Very Best, Katie

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Barrel Organs

Well it's been all go and now the beautiful deep snow has brought everything to a complete and quiet standstill. Luckily The Barrel Organ that I had painted was collected before the snow. It was parked in my living room and I was beginning to think that I would have to decorate it instead of getting a tree. Unfortunately the owner had its music barrel so we couldn't have any good 'olde' singing sessions..of course it would have been great to have wheeled it into town for Xmas late night shopping. The red painting was sanded off before I received the organ and my job was to give it a more original Victorian look.

I firstly woodgrained the whole of its body in dark mahogany,then gilded lines and corner decorations. I was asked to paint the panels with two dancing monkeys and a view of The Crimea War. It was surprisingly difficult to find pictures so I eventually combined two famous paintings to make one war scene. I'll be updating my website with more detailed pictures.

Would you believe it I'm still on blooming dial up..I am getting very close to joining the twenty first century though ! oops, My computer is taking impossibly long to upload my photos so I will publish this post and add the pictures later !

Saturday, 4 December 2010

School Xmas Play

Hello, All the gilded furniture has gone, hooray ! I have some space back. I've completed painting a beautiful Barrel Organ. I won't put any pictures of it up yet because it's owner hasn't seen it yet and I don't want to spoil the surprise.
The biggest rush job, well voluntary has been painting the scenery for the local junior school Xmas Play. I really love painting it and this year is my fourth year. To use a two inch brush and get the paint quickly onto the sheets, add the shading to give dimension and add finishing touches is very enjoyable. ...and to see the children's faces is great. I'll post the finished designs soon.
This coming weekend is Winchcombe Art and Antiques Weekend...The 11th and 12th of December. 11 to 4pm on the Sunday. Winchcombe has some unique shops, good hostelry's and tea shops as well as beautiful walks,, so why not pop over and make a day of it.


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